Hello! Today I wanted to share another post in my adulting hack series, where I try different tools, services, and various other things and figure out whether or not it can help you adult! For the first post in the series, I tried out a meal subscription box (find the post here). In this post, I’ll be talking about habit trackers. Whether through bullet journaling or specific products, a lot of people like to keep track of certain things in their life. I specifically tried two types of habit trackers, the Be the Best You notebooks from classtracker.com, and tracking certain habits in a bullet journal!
*I was sent a free pack of Be the Best You notebooks from classtracker to review. All opinions are my own.*
What are Habit Trackers?
A habit tracker is basically where you decide on certain habits or actions you want to keep track of, and then each day you spend time recording whether or not you did that habit. Or, with some things like sleep or drinking water, you can record how much of that action you did. I was first exposed to this idea when I was looking into bullet journaling. (If you aren’t sure what bullet journaling is, I have a whole pinterest board about it). I decided to get a notebook for myself and try bullet journaling, specifically habit tracking.
Here’s an image of what one of my filled in habit trackers looks like (featuring a special model).
If you are looking to start a bullet journal or just want to test it out, I recommend the notebook that I bought. Many “professional” bullet journalers use somewhat pricy leuchtturm notebooks, but I didn’t want to spend a ton just to try it out. I got this one on Amazon and absolutely loved it. I’m ordering a new one soon because I’ve almost filled it entirely.
*The above amazon link is an affiliate link. I will receive a small portion of the proceeds if you buy this notebook! Thank you for supporting brands that make Living in Full Bloom possible.*
What’s the Point?
At first when you begin tracking your habits, the idea is not to alter your behavior or change your day to day actions. You just go about life as always, recording the things you do in your habit trackers. After a week or two, you can review that and start to get a better idea of what you spend time doing, and what you consistently miss. It can also be used to track spending, and give you a better idea of where your money goes each month.
Once you have tracked for a while, then you can start to implement changes. Start including habits you want to start, not just habits you already have. When I was using habit trackers, there were many days when the only reason I would read was so I could color in the little box at the end of the day. It was nice to have a little extra motivation to accomplish changes in my lifestyle.
What are Be the Best You Notebooks?
This set of notebooks is based on very similar ideas to bullet journal habit trackers. Each notebook tracks a different thing, and helps you stay organized and on track. The notebooks track sleep, budget, workouts, habits, and passions.
In terms of habit trackers, using a system like this is a bit different. The habit notebook on its own contains 7 lines, so you can track 7 habits. Although it’s nice to have the habit tracker pre-made and easy to keep track of, that limited lines is the main downside. In my bullet journal I had 17 habits that I tracked. Once I really thought about it, however, I realized that with the other 4 notebooks, there were only about 7 habits that I would actually put in the habit notebook. The rest could have gone in the other various notebooks. In my bullet journal, all of the topics covered in these 5 notebooks would be all in one big tracker.
One thing I really loved about the Be the Best You notebooks was the Budget notebook. It was great for tracking my spending and helping me develop my budget. It’s perfect for college students, because it even provides an area for things like books and tuition. I also liked the sleep tracker, because it allowed me to better keep track of the amount of sleep I was getting (and how that might have impacted other parts of my life).
The best part about these notebooks is that you have options. You can either buy them as a pack, or just buy the individual notebooks you want. That way, you don’t have to get any notebooks you don’t need. For me, I would probably just buy the budget notebook in the future, as it is a super handy way to track my spending!
Other Ways to Track Your Habits
If pen and paper isn’t the method you prefer, there are some other ways out there to keep track of your habits. If there is something you really want to work on, try something super visual, like a calendar or poster focused just on that. Each day you can cross it off when you accomplish it, making it a bigger pressure each day. I’m working on the habit of cooking at home every night, so I have been tracking what I make and when on a large calendar in my kitchen.
If you prefer to work on your phone, there are several apps with habit trackers out there to help you track what you accomplish each day. Although I personally haven’t used an app (I’m a more traditional visual person) I have heard people who have a lot of success with them. This list was updated recently, and I think I might even check out a couple of these apps! The nice thing about tracking on your phone is that you can do it immediately. That makes it a lot harder to forget. I often had problems actually getting around to tracking things, even when I did do the habit that day.
What Habits Should I Include?
One thing that was hard for me at first when tracking was figuring out what exactly I wanted to track. I wanted to keep track of how I was spending my time. As well as wanting to improve my habits and start pushing myself to include new things in my day. Here’s a few of the habits I included:
- Cook dinner at home
- Read for 30 minutes
- 10 minute clean up at night
- No television
- No spend
Here are some ideas that I personally didn’t track, but I’ve seen in many other habit trackers.
- Mood tracker (track how many days were good/bad moods)
- Healthy eating
- Eight hours of sleep
- No social media
If you are struggling to figure out what you might want to track, try this exercise. Write down what a day in your dream life would look like. How would you spend your extra time? What habits will be important enough for you to spend your time on. Doing this helped me distill a few really important habits that I wanted to focus on with my tracker.
Overall Thoughts on Habit Tracking
I think that if you want to work on yourself and improve your habits, tracking them is the best way to start. By having a handle on what you want to accomplish each day, you are better able to control your time and spend it on the things YOU want to do.
It’s very easy for me to waste a lot of time on instagram watching stories, or mindlessly playing games. When tracking my habits, I know that instead of opening instagram again, I should do my 30 minutes of reading. For me, it’s not that I felt forced to do things I didn’t want to do, but rather that I was reminded of how I truly wanted to spend my time each day.
I don’t believe you need a fancy tracker to keep track of things if you don’t want it. Simply being mindful can accomplish the same thing. I enjoyed having the classtracker notebooks, and I enjoyed my bullet journal – my biggest problem was always remembering to actually track everything. When I did get consistent on tracking, I found that it really did help to improve my habits and prevent some of the major time wasters.
Have you ever tried habit tracking, or bullet journaling in general? Is there something you would like to see me try in the adulting series? Let me know in the comments!